Woodbridge: Paras prepare for charity swim

Fresh from a seven-month tour of Afghanistan, nine paras are today preparing to take part in the Great London Swim for charity.

The men from 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers, based at Rock Barracks, near Woodbridge, will all swim the one-mile route on July 2 for the British Limbless Ex Servicemen’s Association.

The team were inspired to take part in the challenge following the recovery of their friend, Lance Corporal Josh ‘Bodge’ Boggi, who was injured on New Year’s Eve 2010 in the notorious Helmand Province.

Corporal Martyn McNeill, from Woodbridge, said: “In true airborne fashion, he is making a strong recovery.

“He showed such strength of character that he’s become an inspiration to all of us.

“His injuries could have happened to any one of us. Initially, we were going to raise money for Josh’s rehabilitation, but he told us he would rather we helped more servicemen.”

Cpl McNeill found himself joined by eight other members of his squadron soon after he signed up to the swim.

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However, he insisted he would need to train in order to complete the fundraiser.

“It will be a challenge to swim in the open water,” he said.

“I can run and cycle well and I’m obviously pretty fit for my job, but I will need to start training for the swim.

“Now that we are back from Afghanistan, I’m planning to swim three to four times a week.”

Joining Cpl McNeill will be Phil Askey, Mattie Harling, Liam Aschettino, Del Biggs, Daniel Russell, Etienne Le Roux, Damien Kyle and Ryan Wood.

If you would like to sponsor the team, visit www.justgiving.com/ teams/9sqngls.

Are you taking on a charity challenge? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or you can e-mail eveningstarletters@evening star.co.uk